Digital actuality can cut back ache and enhance efficiency throughout train

PICTURE: This is a visual representation of the VR practice environment during the test. view More

Photo credit: Maria Matsangidou

The study, led by PhD student Maria Matsangidou of the EDA, looked at how using VR during exercise can affect performance by measuring a number of criteria: heart rate, including pain intensity, perceived exhaustion, time to exhaustion, and personal life Body awareness.

To do this, they monitored 80 people performing an isometric bicep curl set at 20% of the maximum weight they could lift and then asked to hold for as long as possible. Half of the group acted as a control group, performing the lifting and holding in a room with a chair, table, and yoga mat on the floor.

The VR group was brought into the same room with the same items. They then put on a VR headset and saw the same environment, including a visual representation of an arm and weight (see image below). They then did the same lift and hold as the non-VR group.

The results showed a significant reduction in the perception of pain and exertion when using VR technology. The data showed that after one minute, the VR group reported a 10% lower pain intensity than the non-VR group.

In addition, the time to exhaustion for the VR group was about two minutes longer than for conventional exercises. The VR group also showed a lower heart rate of three beats per minute than the non-VR group.

The results of the study also showed no significant effect of private body awareness on the positive effects of VR. Private body awareness is the subjective awareness that each of us has of physical sensations.

Previous research has shown that individuals with high levels of personal body awareness tend to understand their bodies better and, as a result, experience greater pain when exercising. However, the results of the study showed that VR is effective at reducing perceived pain and that being aware of the private body does not reduce this effect.

In this respect, the improvements shown by the VR group suggest that it could be a way to encourage less active people to exercise by reducing the perceived pain that can be caused by exercise and improving performance, regardless of private Body awareness.

Lead researcher Maria Matsangidou said: “From the data collected, it appears that the use of VR technology can improve performance during exercise on a number of criteria. This could have a significant impact on the exercise regimen for everyone from the casual gym user to the professional athlete. ‘


Dr. Jim Ang from the EDA and Dr. Alex Mauger from the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences in Kent also participated in the research.

The paper was published in the journal Psychology Sports and Exercise, titled Is Your Virtual Self As Sensational As Your Real One? Virtual Reality: The effect of body awareness on the experience of exercise sensations.

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